Spoke on restoring the UNITED States. The crux of that message was the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Since then, I gave some thought to the Apostles and what happened after that. It brought me to an interesting revelation that applies to what we are seeking to do here at Northside.
Mark 16:1-7 – I would like to follow up on what happened after the Great Commission that no one expected.
1. No one expected the RESURRECTION. John 20:1-9; 19
What happened after the crucifixion? Luke 24:13-24 – The disciples thought Jesus was dead and there was no hope. He was dead and that was the end of all that He had done. They did not know what to do with themselves. In fact, they were in fear of their own lives from the Jewish leaders who went after Jesus – guilt by association.
You started out every facet of your life with a plan, a dream, a hope. Grow up, get married, have a career in…, raise children that are obedient and successful… Some of those materialized. Some got reprogramed into something else. Some got devastated by circumstances (accident, illness, influence by someone else) and choices that prevented your plan from being achieved. Just like the Apostles, there were times when you did not know what to expect next.
How many people started a career only to find their course changed through circumstances that they did not foresee? They did not start this way. But an accident that prevented this action, success in an area they accidentally stepped into, or discovery that they chanced upon changed the direction of their life.
2. No one expected the CHURCH – Matthew 16:15-19
Jesus had told them that they would build His church, but they did not realize what He was talking about. They were 4 fishermen, one tax collector (sympathizer?) one zealot, one Judean (a traitor) and five others from unknown occupations. None started out or planned to be evangelizing preachers – church starters, and eventually, martyrs. Yet they gave their lives, regardless of the consequences, to this mission and started Christ’s Church. It began on Pentecost – Acts 2:1ff.
There was a time when doctors did not know how to use anesthesia. The Wright brothers did not know how to build an airplane or how to fly it after it was built. They learned one flight at a time. Assembly lines, mass production, super-stores, even automobile and air travel are all modern inventions – mostly within the last 150 years. For thousands of years, there were no light bulbs, steam or gasoline engines, electronics, computers, airplanes flying all over, men on the moon, etc.
How many of you thought about a career in one thing when you were young, but ended up in a different career where you spent most of your life? How many of you have been able to make your life happen (career, family relationships, health, lifestyle, etc.) the way you wanted it to? How many of you planned this, but life gave you that? None of you expected that you would be where you are today.
3. No one expected the OPPOSITION
Even though they didn’t know what they were doing at first, they didn’t expect the opposition they received. Acts 4:1ff; 5:17-42 – all of the Apostles died at the hands of those who opposed them with the possible exception of John. It was not without opposition that they started the Church in the locales where they lived and traveled. But in the opposition, they grew stronger, more focused and committed. – James 1:2-4.
Paul went through many trials for his faith – II Corinthians 11:25-28. If given a choice, he would have chosen to make the road easier.
We didn’t expect the challenge from the neighborhood when we bought this property. We did not foresee the difficulties that we would have from the city council in getting permits. We did not know how much it was going to cost in repairs and improvements. But we have persevered and are still working to build a New Testament Christian Church in this community.
4. No one expected having to DIE for their faith
Acts 12:1-4 – James was killed, and Peter was arrested. They expected him to be killed, but he was rescued by God’s angel. Paul was stoned twice and escaped death many times through his years.
Are you committed enough to the work of God through Northside Christian Church that you would rather die than quit? What does God have in store for us in this community?
No one expected the SUCCESS, POWER & PERMANENCE of the Church. Matthew 16:15-19 – Jesus said His Church will win! Revelation – The church will never end.
Acts 29 – YOU and I are writing the last chapter of this book.